Chapter 9: My Low Tech Lifestyle
A view into my thoughts about digital minimalism concepts
This is chapter 9 of my upcoming book Low Tech Lifestyle. As a free subscriber, you get a free preview :). Premium subscribers get access to the whole book. If you haven’t subscribed, click the button below. Thanks for your support!
In the penultimate chapter of this book, we will delve into the many facets of my personal low-tech lifestyle, highlighting the aspects that have become increasingly important and cherished in my day-to-day life. As we navigate an ever-evolving digital landscape, the desire to strike a balance between technology and a simpler, more grounded existence has taken on greater significance. I hope the devices and concepts I share can elucidate how I am approaching the principles I have talked about in previous segments of the book.
E-Ink vs LCD
During my first year of college, I faced a significant obstacle that threatened to derail my academic pursuits – my vision began to falter. This realization struck me hard during a College Algebra class when I struggled to discern numbers and equations on the board from the back of the classroom. Alarmed, I consulted an optometrist, who informed me that excessive screen use had caused a decline in my depth perception and ability to recognize distant objects. Initially, I was in denial about the severity of my condition, trying various home remedies, such as direct sunlight exposure and homeopathic cures, which offered temporary relief but failed to provide a long-term solution. In desperation, I even abstained from screens for two weeks, hoping to improve my vision. Despite my efforts, my visual acuity continued to decline, leaving me with no choice but to accept corrective eyewear. Though the prospect of wearing lenses was initially unwelcome, I soon recognized the importance of prioritizing my ocular health.
As I grappled with my vision problems, I became increasingly aware of the perils associated with excessive screen use. I sought a solution that would allow me to engage with digital content without causing further damage to my eyesight. That's when I discovered E-ink technology, a more eye-friendly alternative that simulates the appearance of ink on paper. Unlike traditional LCD screens, E-ink devices do not emit blue light or cause eye strain, making them ideal for those who spend significant time in front of screens.
Initially, I made the transition from my iPad to an e-reader with an E-ink display, a change that had an immediate impact on my reading experience. The absence of constant notifications allowed me to focus more on my reading, whether through a physical medium or the e-reader. Admittedly, the lack of "responsiveness" was a turn-off in the beginning. However, as time passed, I adapted to the new pace of reading and came to appreciate the benefits that E-ink provided. As I searched for a more sustainable solution for my daily communication needs, I discovered the Light Phone 2. Its E-ink screen and minimalist features complemented the slower pace fostered by the e-reader experience, enabling me to manage the flow of my day more effectively. Nowadays, I barely glance at the phone and reach for it far less frequently than when I had a smartphone. The limited features and new pace have been a tremendous help in reshaping my relationship with technology and allowing me to be more present in my daily life.
The primary motivation for adopting a "slower" technology was not solely for health reasons but also to embrace a more measured approach to digital interactions. With LCD screens, information is available at a rapid pace, whereas with E-ink, users learn to be patient and appreciate the screen's refresh rate. As I continue on my journey, I am exploring the possibility of replacing my computing needs with E-ink devices. The Onyx Boox Mira Pro and Lenovo Twist are the next two devices on my radar to determine whether they can meet my productivity needs. Using E-ink for tasks like emailing and browsing websites is expected to encourage a slower workflow, allowing me to be more mindful of my digital interactions. While adopting a mindset of slowness is crucial, when it comes to screens, prioritizing eye health and embracing a new pace has proven to be a successful way for me to engage with digital technology in a more humane and balanced manner.
Operating Systems: Ya Basic
In today's increasingly connected world, distractions are everywhere. From smartphones to laptops, our devices constantly vie for our attention, making it difficult to focus on what truly matters. In pursuit of a more mindful and productive environment, I have made a conscious decision to simplify the operating systems on all my gadgets. For my laptop, I transitioned to a custom Linux system by installing a version of Ubuntu and paring it down to just ten essential apps, including indispensable work-based tools for my profession. Additionally, I've incorporated a podcast app and a reading aggregator for relaxation during breaks. By minimizing the number of apps and eliminating superfluous distractions, I have been able to enhance my focus and boost my productivity. Regarding mobile devices, I chose the Light Phone 2 and the Sunbeam F1 for my personal and work needs. Both devices offer only what is necessary, steering clear of excessive features and distractions. Optional tools such as maps and calendars assist me in staying organized and on schedule without diverting my attention from essential tasks. Podcasts and music provide entertainment when I need to escape from the world and alleviate stress. This minimalist approach has proven instrumental in helping me remain more present and engaged in my daily life.
Tough I value the convenience and accessibility of my digital devices, I have learned to appreciate the importance of disconnecting and delving into a good book. In fact, reading has become an integral part of my daily routine, offering a much-needed refuge from the relentless stimulation of the digital realm. Whenever I venture out, I ensure that I have a book with me, as it serves as an engaging alternative to combat boredom and remain connected to the world around me. During breaks or while waiting in line, I can immerse myself in another world, granting my brain a well-deserved respite from the unending stream of notifications and emails. Reading offers more than just a means to relax; it also stimulates my mind and cultivates creativity. By exposing myself to diverse ideas and viewpoints, I can broaden my perspective and generate innovative concepts. Additionally, research has shown that reading improves cognitive function and memory, making it a powerful asset for both personal and professional growth.
While I have made a conscious effort to streamline my digital devices and limit my exposure to distractions, I still recognize the value of having a more powerful operating system at my disposal. That's where my Surface Go 3 comes into play. As the most advanced OS in my arsenal, my Surface Go 3 serves as an invaluable tool for travel and other situations that demand a more connected device. Whether I need to access a specific app or work on a project that requires additional processing power, my Surface Go 3 provides me with the flexibility and versatility needed to accomplish the task. The Surface Go 3 is also equipped with LTE connectivity, which adds a layer of convenience to my digital experience. This feature allows me to stay connected on the go, enabling me to install apps, scan documents, QR codes, and perform various other tasks without needing to rely on Wi-Fi or mobile devices with Android or iOS. The LTE connection ensures that I can remain productive and access essential tools even when I'm away from a reliable internet source.
Despite its many capabilities, the Surface Go 3 is intentionally underpowered for demanding tasks such as gaming. This limitation works in my favor, as it discourages me from getting distracted by resource-intensive games that could hamper my productivity. By using a device that excels at essential tasks but falls short for more entertainment-focused activities, I can further limit my exposure to digital distractions and maintain a balanced, focused approach to my work and personal life. In conclusion, my approach to technology centers around balance and intentionality. While I acknowledge the benefits of versatile devices like the Surface Go 3, I also understand the significance of limiting my exposure to digital distractions. In today's fast-paced world, it is all too easy to become overwhelmed by the constant barrage of digital stimuli. Nevertheless, by simplifying my devices and focusing on what is truly essential, I have cultivated an environment that promotes mindfulness and intentionality. Adopting a more deliberate approach to my technology use has enabled me to become more productive, present, and fulfilled in various aspects of my life.
Television: A Conscious Decision to Disconnect
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